Children's Voice May/June 2006

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Change a Lifetime

CWLA, once again, joined 13 other organizations in 2006 to recognize and promote May as National Foster Care Month--an opportunity for people nationwide to get involved as foster parents, volunteers, mentors, or employers, or in other ways.

Every year, it's also an opportunity to show appreciation for the dedication of the foster families who care for more than 500,000 children and youth, and the social workers who support them.

The 2006 campaign theme was Change a Lifetime: Share Your Heart, Open Your Home, Offer Your Help and focused heavily on how to get involved in the lives of young people in foster care. The campaign's website is a year-round resource containing facts and statistics on foster care, links to partner organizations, a toolkit on how you can help, stories from foster parents and foster care alumni, a calendar of events in your state, and official pins, ribbons, and campaign posters for purchase.

May was first declared National Foster Care Month in 1988 in a measure introduced by then-U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC). The first President Bush issued annual proclamations during each year of his presidency, which moved states, counties, and cities to issue their own proclamations. The primary focus of early efforts was appreciation and recognition for the tremendous contributions of foster parents nationwide.

During the 1990s, the focus was on youth in transition, and under the leadership of the National Foster Care Coalition and Casey Family Programs, Foster Care Month became a significant part of the drumbeat that ultimately resulted in the passage of the Chafee Foster Care Independence Act.

Today, National Foster Care Month focuses on calling on all Americans to take action on behalf of children and youth in foster care, and to ensure Americans know how they can change a lifetime in their own communities, starting in May and extending year round.


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